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Imagine That... The Power of Pretend Play in Executive Function Development

by Rachel Robertson
May/June 2018
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/imagine-that...-the-power-of-pretend-play-in-executive-function-development/5024172/

These days it seems the fields of neuroscience, developmental psychology, child development, and the like, are brimming with new discoveries or advanced understandings about how brains work. And there are few people that get more excited about these ideas than education professionals. Executive function is one of those topics that has captured the attention of educators of all students—from preschoolers to college students. In fact, Carlson’s research on EF is a perfect example.
While researchers have been studying what we call EF for decades, it is a relatively new term to practitioners. Although many of us saw the famed “marshmallow study” in college, the application of the outcomes wasn’t clear. It was cute, but what did it mean? Now, with new information and insights, practitioners are working toward a better understanding of the concept of EF (including, but also beyond the self-regulation behavior demonstrated in the marshmallow study) and gathering classroom support techniques. For early educators, Carlson’s research not only contributes to our understanding of EF and how it develops, but also provides insight into ways we can support the development of this set of mental skills in young children.


What exactly is EF?
As Carlson noted, EF is a set ...

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